Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #154: The Woods

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is "The Woods". As a fan of older movies, I've picked three older (well, at least this time one of them was released after I was born) movies that fit the theme:

Brainstorm (1983). The final film of actress Natalie Wood; she drowned in an incident unrelated to the movie halfway through production. Wood plays Karen, the estranged wife of Michael (Christopher Walken), who is developing a sort of virtual reality device. The other inventor of the device (Beatrice Straight) dies suddenly, but not before hooking herself up to the device to record her thoughts as she's dying. Michael knows he just has to see that recording. Karen and Michael also record their own perspectives, which enables them to see the marriage from each other's point of view and save the marriage.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959). Ed Wood directed this hilariously awful movie about aliens trying to resurrect dead humans as zombies so that the zombies will take over Earth. Or something; the plot is such a mess as is the directing and the production values. But it's one of those movies that fails so spectacularly that it winds up being a blast to watch.

Fog Over Frisco (1934). Donald Woods plays Tony, a reporter pursuing socialite Val (Margaret Lindsay). Val's half-sister Arlene is a bad girl of sorts, hobnobbing with gangsters but engaged to a stockbroker. When Arlene gets her fiancé mixed up in a stock swindle, Arlene goes missing and Tony gets his chance to crack the case wide open. This is, unsurprisingly, Bette Davis' movie, even though she disappears for much of the movie. It's one of those really zippy Warner Bros. programmers; they always seemed to be better at that style of film-making than any of the other studios.

I hope I understood this week's theme correctly....


Wendell Ottley said...

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only one I've seen is Plan 9. That movie is a riot.

Birgit said...

Plan 9 fits the bills since they keep going back into the woods driving in one car and arriving in a different t car...hahahaaa but the cops must try to save the day. I haven't seen Brainstorm since it came out. I still think that Natalie Wood died in a strange way and Wagner and Walken know...or at least Wagner knows. I haven't seen your last pic

joel65913 said...

Plan 9 is a mess but since it's so infamously awful no one can really complain, they have to know what they're walking into when they start watching.

Brainstorm had some interesting bits but its rocky production history shows on the screen. Not an awful film by any means and not an ignominious swan song for Natalie but hardly her best showcase either.

When Bette Davis isn't on screen Fog Over Frisco is just another Warners programmer, peppy but average. But when she is she zaps the movie to life with a live wire performance of a girl you can actually feel hurtling towards disaster.

I didn't reach as far back as I usually do this week, for some reason all I could come up with on older films was the uninspired King of the Lumberjacks so I went slightly more current but still back a bit.

The Emerald Forest (1985)-Engineer Bill Markham is in Brazil with his wife Jean (Meg Foster) and young son Tommy (the film’s director John Boorman’s son Charlie) working on a hydroelectric dam on the edge of the rainforest. One day while the three are having a picnic near the site Tommy is taken by a forest tribe known as The Invisible People. Markham spends the next ten years searching the jungles for Tommy meeting many obstacles including the cannibalistic Fierce People along the way. Beautiful looking complex adventure based on true events.

Sometimes a Great Notion (1970)-The Stamper family, father Henry (Henry Fonda), oldest son Hank (Paul Newman), his wife Viv (Lee Remick), younger brother Leeland and nephew Joe Ben (Michael Sarrazin & Richard Jaeckel) are independent Oregon loggers. When the local union loggers go on strike against the corporate giant that controls most of the area they urge the Stampers to join them but being struggling independents they fear they won’t survive and refuse. The tensions that run high among them and the townsfolk is mirrored within the family leading to conflict and tragedy. Based on a Ken Kesey novel this is a sometimes slow but extremely well-acted (Jaeckel is a particular standout) complicated family drama.

The Edge (1997)-Uber rich Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins) has gone with his model wife Mickey (Elle Macpherson) on a photo shoot to a remote mountain area along with photographer Robert Green (Alec Baldwin), who Charles suspects is involved with Mickey, and his assistant (Harold Perrineau). While Mickey stays behind the three men fly into the wilderness for nature photos but the plane crashes killing the pilot and the three men must struggle to survive not only the elements but the giant bear tracking them through the woods and ultimately each other.

Katie Hogan said...

Super intrigued by Brainstorm - love Walken! And I still need to see Plan 9.